MADRID, May 20 (IPS) – It is often said that a pessimistic person is an optimistic but well-informed person. Here, a good number of people may believe that human ingenuity and inventiveness are capable of dealing with both current and looming disasters, such as the impact of climate change, for example.
Others, however, may think that such human ingenuity will once again address the symptoms rather than the causes that provoke them. Therefore, they would be right to want to be informed and aware of the root causes of such disasters in order to press for their eradication.
Regardless, and regardless of people’s level of optimism or informed optimism, the big problem may fall on the shoulders of the ruling politicians, those who are so heavily influenced by big business that they act as mere announcers rather than decision-makers. decisions.
Likewise, to the other international specialized organizations and to the world’s scientific communities, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) reminds that human activity and behavior are contributing to an increasing number of disasters in around the world, putting millions of lives and all social and economic aspects at risk. win at risk
The risks of optimism and underestimation
Its Global Assessment Report specifically blames these disasters on “a broken perception of risk based on optimism, underestimation, and invincibility,” leading to policy, finance, and development decisions that exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and put people in danger.
“The world needs to do more to incorporate disaster risk into the way we live, build and invest, which is setting humanity on a spiral of self-destruction,” said Amina J. Mohammed, United Nations Under-Secretary-General. , who presented the Global Disaster Risk Reduction Assessment Report 2022.
Stop ignoring risk… on purpose
“Disasters can be prevented, but only if countries invest the time and resources to understand and reduce their risks,” said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Director of UNDRR. .
“By deliberately ignoring risk and not integrating it into decision-making, the world is effectively financing its own destruction. Critical sectors, from government to development to financial services, urgently need to rethink how they perceive and address disaster risk.”
More disasters to come
Meanwhile, the scale and intensity of disasters are increasing, with more people killed or affected by disasters in the last five years than in the previous five, and the number of disasters is projected to reach 560 per year, or 1, 5 disasters per day. by 2030.
Adding to the long-term impacts of disasters is the lack of insurance to aid recovery efforts to build back better. Since 1980, only 40% of disaster-related losses were insured, while insurance coverage rates in developing countries were often below 10% and sometimes close to zero, according to the report.
Reform of national budgets
An area of increasing risk is related to more extreme weather events as a result of climate change, recalls the group of experts from around the world who wrote the report as a reflection of the various areas of expertise needed to understand and reduce risks. complex.
In it, they called for reforming national budget planning to account for risk and uncertainty, while reconfiguring legal and financial systems to incentivize risk reduction.
“The good news is that human decisions contribute the most to disaster risk, so we have the power to substantially reduce the threats facing humanity, and especially the most vulnerable among us.”
Such repeated calls to reformulate countries’ national budgets to address priority areas, including disaster prevention and risk reduction, have surprisingly fallen on deaf ears.
How else to explain that in 2021, global military spending exceeded US$2 trillion for the first time, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which also reported that global nuclear arsenals are growing at As states continue to modernize, therefore? drastically increasing the dangers of an unimaginable number of victims of the most devastating machinery of death?
There is always enough money to finance destruction.
Furthermore, how to listen passively that several European countries have just doubled their military budgets in the midst of an imminent economic and social crisis that affects their citizens?
And how else to explain that the world’s politicians continue to subsidize fossil fuels with six trillion dollars in just one year, being fully aware that such fuels harvest the lives of millions of humans?
Unwanted to be seen wage war on Nature
“Humanity is waging a war against nature. This is absurd and suicidal. The consequences of our recklessness are already evident in human suffering, huge economic losses and the accelerating erosion of life on Earth,” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, in his preview of the recent report “Making Peace with nature: a scientific plan to deal with climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies”.
too many empty promises
Meanwhile, none of the agreed global targets for protecting life on Earth and halting land and ocean degradation have been fully met.
For example, by deliberately ignoring growing risks, three-quarters of the land and two-thirds of the oceans are now affected by human activities.
And one million of the world’s estimated 8 million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, while many ecosystem services essential to human well-being are being eroded.
Also, how do you understand that nearly a billion people around the world live in extreme poverty and are disproportionately affected by stoppable and preventable land degradation that threatens their shelter, food, water and income?
© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service